Teammates, opponents salute Luka Doncic after historic performance

2022-09-07T20:24:35+00:00 2022-09-08T22:07:58+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

07/Sep/22 20:24

Friends and foes were amazed by the new Luka Doncic show in the EuroBasket.

By Antonis Stroggylakis/

Cologne – Not only Luka Doncic’s teammates but also his opponents applauded the Dallas Mavericks superstar after he delivered one of the most majestic offensive shows ever in the EuroBasket annals.

In what will go down as one of his all-time masterpieces, Doncic scored 47 points in a win over France Wednesday (7/9) to set a new second-highest scoring performance in the history of EuroBasket tournaments as Slovenia finished the preliminary stage at the top of Group B. He passed Greek legend and Hall of Famer Nick Galis who had 46 points in the 1983 European Championship vs. Sweden.

Doncic’s display becomes even more impressive considering three extra things. First and foremost, it took place in back-to-back matches with less than 24 hours of rest in between them for Luka. Only yesterday, Doncic dropped 36 points in a victory over Germany Tuesday (6/9).

Second, Luka was elbowed on the head by Vincent Poirier during the second quarter and the hit caused him to bleed. Third, he was beautifully efficient in his production of buckets, with 15-23 shots.

French national team star center and three-time DPOY Rudy Gobert, arguably one of the elite (if not the best) defenders on the planet, praised Luka and what he considers as a historically rare ability to shape and bend the game to his will.

“I think it’s much more complicated than that,” Gobert said when Eurohoops asked if Doncic is a standard case of ”the best offense beats the best defense’. “It’s a team game. Luka is obviously a fantastic player. He’s able to manipulate the game like only a few people probably in the history of the game have been able to do it. He’s able to make other people better around him and score. You have to try to make him work defensively. Tonight he had a big night. There’s always talk on what should do, or what we should have done. Some of the shots he made were really tough You got to tip his hat off when he makes shots like that. ”

I think we played good defense,” Gobert added and he actually has a point since many times Doncic scored under immense pressure, including some from the new Minnesota Timberwolves big man. “I think we made him work. There are some things that we could’ve adjusted. He made a lot of free throws too.”

France captain Evan Fournier had a different view of how his team’s defense behaved against Doncic since he believes that there were some early miscalculations that came at a cost. “He’s a generational talent. We gave him some looks that we weren’t thinking going into the game. These switches with the “5s” to allow him to play one vs. one with the big. That wasn’t the game plan. When you allow him one, two, three plays in a row, he gets confidence. And after that he started to make really tough shots. A mistake on our part.”

“He’s really good but when he makes shots like that, it’s tough,” Fournier said. “When you give him shots that he makes, then he gets confident and then it’s hard to stop. You have to do the job early on him. You can’t give him anything easy.”

“He’s a winner. He has great mentality,” Slovenia guard Jaka Blazic emphasized. “He goes to every game with all his energy and with 100 percent motivation no matter who the opponent is. When he’s scoring like this it’s unbelievable. Even we, that we are his teammates, we are surprised with some moves he does. It’s a privilege to play with him.”

Klemen Prepelic, another veteran member of the Slovenian team, warned that opponents shouldn’t mess with his young teammate. “He’s Luka. He’s shown many times that if you piss him off it’s not good. It’s not good for you in the end. They were playing hard on him. He needed stitches on his head and he came off with an unbelievable performance. His 27 points took us all in his back to get the win and the first place we deserved.”

“Luka… Luka is unbelievable. He’s our wonderboy. I’m happy that he’s Slovenian,” Zoran Dragic, Goran’s younger brother, commented.

Doncic and Slovenia now head to Berlin for the Round of 16 where they will face Belgium in the quest to defend the gold medal of 2017.

Photo: FIBA Basketball